Pardon The Expression. Image credit: Granada Television.

Pardon The Expression

Leonard Swindley has left Gamma Garments and now finds himself as assistant manager at a national chain store, Dobson and Hawks

Genre:
Sitcom
Broadcast:
1965 - 1966  (ITV)
Episodes:
36 (2 series)
Starring:
Arthur Lowe, Paul Dawkins, Robert Dorning, Betty Driver, Joy Stewart, Barbara Young, Holly Doone, John Le Mesurier, Anthony Sharp
Writers:
Harry Driver, Jack Rosenthal, Vince Powell
Production:
Granada Television

Leonard Swindley bids a fond farewell to Gamma Garments and takes up the position of Assistant Manager with the Northern branch of national chain store, Dobson and Hawks. His manager, Ernest Parbold, suffers from stomach trouble and is not one to suffer in silence. He sees Swindley as another fly-by-night appointment and is happy to lay the blame on Swindley if it makes his life easier.

Miss Sinclair is in charge of the floor staff and, together with the canteen manageress, Mrs Edgeley, provides Swindley with some sympathetic support in his new role. However, he is still capable of looking permanently harrassed and over-reaching himself in his search for social acceptance.

Our Review: For the first and only time, a regular character from the soap opera Coronation Street walked in to a series of their own. Arthur Lowe had played the part of Leonard Swindley for 4 years and the writers of Coronation Street found enough comedy in his performance as the pompous fusspot for them to contemplate a situation comedy series. The star was happy enough to go along with the plan at first but would complain that the scripts were beneath him on many occasions.

The transition from soap to sitcom was smooth with the character saying goodbye in Coronation Street and two days later walking in to his new job at Dobson & Hawks. The same team who were writing stories for 'The Street' were also working on this new show but no other characters would crossover or make appearances.

The second series saw a change of personnel with Robert Dorning, as Mr Hunt, replacing Mr Parbold as the manager of the store. The popularity of the show dipped midway through the long run and many regions did not show the entire 24 episodes - opting out in the middle and coming back for the final episodes. Our guide shows the transmission dates for the London region which showed the entire run.

Even though many of the production team thought they had "squeezed all the juice" out of the character, Granada produced a sequel, Turn Out The Lights, which saw ex-managers Swindley and Hunt teaming up as ghost hunters!

There is also a mystery over 3 shows which were apparently made but never shown. Granada's internal catalogues indicate 39 shows were made but only 36 were ever broadcast. One of the shows, a Christmas special, is included on the DVD release for Series 2 as a "Special Feature".